Notes from the RSS WinterFest Webcast

Notes from the RSS WinterFest Webcast
I got into RSS (Really Simple Syndication) only a few months ago and have come to believe it’s the most amazing Web technology to come down the pike. I’ve explained many times here, including in one of my essays, but it’s one of those things that’s really difficult to explain. You have to use it to understand. This blog is available via RSS feed. All you need is a reader and the xml address (the orange graphic above).

People with varying degrees of this understanding met today and shared their thoughts via a free Webcast. Here are a couple of my notes:

Dan Gillmor: “Something RSS does (although not fully appreciated) is it may be the perfect vehicle for doing news delivery to small devices. I don’t think people understand how important this might be for the delivery of news.”

Dave Winer: “Innovation isn’t what it’s about. Value is the right word. The value is in all the people who write about news events from their points of view and then provide that to others via RSS, so I don’t have to rely on the monoculture of the big media to keep me informed. It’s a decentralized communications medium.”

Jim Moore, Director of Internet & Information Services at Dean for America: “We have our chins up in one sense. We’d love to have won Iowa, but we do think we helped promote political participation in Iowa. Among 17–30 year olds, twice as many people participated as before. We didn’t win that group, but we do believe the Web and blogging helped create that turnout. Sometimes you can do good but not get any benefit out of it. We might actually succeed and not win the election.”

Steve Gillmor: “We’ll see the rich media, fulltext feeds, video, etc., that will provide an economic model that will circle around and provide advertisers and other interested parties with information from the readers that’ll make this work. We’re overlooking the innate power of RSS to create the personalized newspaper. You become the editor of your world. That’s really largely untouched and when they intersect as disruptive technologies, it’ll explode.”

I agree with Dan Gillmor that this profoundly simple piece of technology will play a very important role in the delivery of news in our Postmodern world. A news organization that doesn’t make their content available via RSS is missing what will ultimately turn out to be a very significant audience.

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